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Alliance will continue to fight to ensure victims are focus of process, says Long

Alliance will continue to fight to ensure victims are the focus of the legacy process, party Leader Naomi Long MLA has said.

Mrs Long was speaking after meeting Secretary of State Brandon Lewis and Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney alongside other Executive leaders to discuss legacy matters, including UK Government proposals for an amnesty for Troubles-related killings.

“Alliance was clear with the Governments today we will continue to engage in the legacy process in order to find a solution. But that solution needs to be based on the rule of law and due process,” she said.

“However, we will not provide cover for anything that amounts to an amnesty. I was clear in the meeting this process has to be centered on victims, who have been re-traumatised this week thanks to the actions of the UK Government. Any suggestion their right to access justice as been denied will hurt them further.

“The Prime Minister has stated in blunt and callous terms we need to draw a line under this issue and move on. That is easy said for those who have not suffered any loss, but it is harder to do when you have to live with that loss and pain on a daily basis. It is imperative we restore the focus back to the needs of victims – this should not be simply a political discussion.

“While the Government has said it will engage with an open mind, the question remains whether the Stormont House Agreement is now off the table, given they have said it is unworkable, and whether prosecutions are off the table. It is not morally right, politically acceptable or respectful of victims’ needs to deny justice in that way. The integrity of the justice system and primacy of victims are key to shaping any process and Alliance will continue to fight to ensure that is the case.”